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If it had been up to Hillary Clinton, there would be no Iran Deal

on 27 Comments

The New York Times has published another important piece on Hillary Clinton’s neoconservative-lite foreign policy, too late for Democrats to do much about it. Mark Landler, the same reporter who exposed Clinton as the most hawkish candidate of all those running for president, conveniently too late for the NY primary, has reported another article showing that Hillary Clinton opposed John Kerry’s Iran negotiations from day one, and was “swayed by… Netanyahu.” The article is called “For Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Divergent Paths to Iran Nuclear Talks.”

It notes Clinton’s acclaim for the Iran deal on the campaign trail, but reveals that she dragged her feet from the start. Even as Kerry, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was speaking to an emissary from Oman, Clinton was behaving in a tactical, hardline fashion.

But the behind-the-scenes story of Mrs. Clinton’s role is more complicated than her public account of it. Interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration officials paint a portrait of a highly cautious, ambivalent diplomat, less willing than Mr. Obama to take risks to open a dialogue with Iran and increasingly wary of Mr. Kerry’s freelance diplomacy. Her decision to send her own team, some officials said, was driven as much by her desire to corral Mr. Kerry as to engage the Iranians.

Mrs. Clinton, who declined to comment for this article, worried that he was promising too much to lure the Iranians to the table — a worry shared by people in the White House. The senator’s aides, meanwhile, suspected that Mrs. Clinton was content to run out the clock on an opening. At one point, a frustrated Mr. Kerry told his chief of staff, David Wade, “If this is going to go anywhere, we have to get people in a room talking.”

Defenders of Mrs. Clinton say that her distrust of Iran was warranted…

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos was seeking an “out of the box” way to change the dynamic between Iran and the U.S., Kerry tells Landler. And the then Senate chairman made the same argument to President Obama.

Later, in a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, Mr. Kerry told him that the only way to test its potential was to meet the Iranians.

The State Department and the National Security Council, however, deliberated for months without making a decision…

Mark Landler

Mark Landler

Note the characterization of Kerry’s approach as “aggressive” and dismissive of the chorus in “Israel and the United States.” Kerry was willing to ignore the Israel lobby, but Hillary Clinton was not.

his aggressive approach alarmed Mrs. Clinton, as well as people at the White House, several former officials said. They worried that Mr. Kerry had promised the Iranians concessions on enriching uranium that the White House was not yet willing to make.

Mr. Kerry, these officials said, indicated to the Iranians that the United States would acknowledge, at the outset of the talks, that Iran had a right to enrich uranium for a civil nuclear-energy program… he was dismissive of hard-liners in Israel and the United States who demanded that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.

Landler says 2012 was a “fragile” time, but he doesn’t mention the lobby’s role in President Obama’s reelection campaign, and the president’s need to get right with Israel supporters:

In the fragile atmosphere of early 2012, officials said, Mr. Kerry’s forward-leaning style came to be viewed as a liability….

Clinton sided with Netanyahu over Obama, in seeking new sanctions on Iran just as Kerry was undertaking the deal with the new president.

After she left the State Department, Mrs. Clinton diverged from Mr. Obama on a central tactical question: whether to impose harsh new sanctions on the Iranians after they elected Hassan Rouhani, who had run for president seeking better relations with the West to ease Iran’s economic isolation. Mrs. Clinton was swayed by many in Congress, as well as by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who argued Iran was so desperate for a deal that tightening the vise would have extracted better terms.

“She would have squeezed them again,” a person who has worked with her for several years said, “and the only debate is what they would have done.”

Good to know. How much of Clinton’s policymaking is “swayed by… Netanyahu.” And what other good stories about Clinton’s visionless foreign policy is the New York Times sitting on?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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27 Responses

  1. Bandolero on May 3, 2016, 10:00 am

    That all looks to me like the guys at the NYT – or those who pay for the content – think they’ve done enough dovish PR for Clinton to beat Sanders, so now the put out hawkish PR to prepare her for the match against Trump.

    • Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 10:55 am

      That is a good point. The NYT is doing exactly what the interfering zionists want them to do, helping Clinton towards becoming President. Her speeches at AIPAC, her unwavering support for Israel, speaking of inviting Nutty to the WH when she becomes President, and parroting the lies against the Palestinian people, is some of things she must do to get their support in the media and the gigantic donations that come here way, by generous Jewish Americans (and most probably non American). She lacks the self respect, nor has any conscience, to do what is right for those suffering under her dear friends in zio land. Occupation? She cares not. Illegal settlements? That does not matter either.

      They want to make sure she gets that crown. In her she has their stooge to keep scamming the American people, and extract all they can, even hope for more increased aid, like parasites.

      • edwards on May 3, 2016, 11:22 am

        And yet I saw today in the Times that Al-Sadr in Iraq has a “history of resorting to violence”. I had to stop reading

      • Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 12:46 pm

        Sounds like that ole has ba rats tactic of “look over there, they are worse than us”. Focus.

      • umrayya on May 7, 2016, 1:22 am

        Edwards, Muqtada Al Sadr DOES have a history of violence. His militia fought against the occupation, and against his sectarian and political enemies.

  2. hophmi on May 3, 2016, 11:14 am

    “Good to know. How much of Clinton’s policymaking is “swayed by… Netanyahu.””

    It’s just amazing that you leave out the part about “members in Congress.” Just amazing and disingenuous. Same with changing hardliners in the US and Israel” to “chorus in US and Israel.” You dismiss any notion of nuance in order to hammer home your agenda.

    • philweiss on May 3, 2016, 11:16 am

      Its in there Hophmi. Whether or not Congresspeople shared the agenda — and most all were Republicans — I find it shocking that she was listening to NEtanyahu not Kerry.

    • K Renner on May 3, 2016, 12:41 pm

      @Hasbara whiner:

      You write:

      ” It’s just amazing that you leave out the part about “members in Congress.” Just amazing and disingenuous.”

      It’s the height of irony for you to accuse anyone else of being “disingenuous”, especially when it comes to this issue.

      Congress, to its eternal shame, is in Netanyahu’s pocket on this crucial issue (or otherwise up somewhere where the sun don’t shine).

      Hilary was influenced by cowardly, evil people like Saban and Netanyahu. Congress? Influenced by the same cowardly, evil people.

      You’re just grasping desperately for any chance to accuse people of whatever, per the attempts to poo-poo anything critical of Israel.

      ” You dismiss any notion of nuance in order to hammer home your agenda.”

      This is actually really gross (and typically pathetic) coming from the likes of you.

      Ever heard sayings about glass houses and throwing stones? Or the pot calling the kettle black?

      Things like that?

    • annie on May 3, 2016, 2:54 pm

      hops, the state dept is part of the executive branch and doesn’t take marching orders from congress wrt foreign diplomacy.

      a little background, recall “The story behind the deal: Israel kept out of the loop as secret US/Iran meetings took place in Oman” ? >>

      secret meetings between the US and Iran via Oman began in march 2013 — just 2 months after kerry became sec of state. clinton was likely kept out of the loop and resented it. it didn’t happen under her watch but it could have:

      Details have emerged the U.S. had been holding secret meetings with Iranian officials in the Omani capital of Muscat since last March, facilitated by Sultan Qaboos of Oman. Qaboos offered himself as a mediator for U.S.-Iran rapprochement after playing a key role in the release of American hikers who were imprisoned by Iran – See more at:

      the hitchhikers were released by iran in sept 2011. so if Qaboos offered himself as mediator at that time, clinton dropped the ball. AP reported:

      “talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of people in the know “ also:

      Kershner speculated in the New York Times Israeli “outrage may have been fueled” by revelations they were kept out of the loop on the extent of the secret high-level engagement taking place in Oman.

      she could have been kept out of the loop because of her close relationship w/israel and fear she could have spilled the beans.

      • kalithea on May 3, 2016, 10:16 pm

        II find shocking that you all take seriously and give the time of day to a total hasbara Zionist shill like hop less.

      • annie on May 3, 2016, 10:38 pm

        kalithea, only my first sentence related to hops. the rest of it was for anyone/everyone who didn’t know or recall that part of the history of the iran deal. when i read the article and reference to oman i thought of it and was going to post it anyway. and i thought why not use the opportunity to rub salt in his wound at the same time. 2 birds w/one stone.

      • talknic on May 4, 2016, 6:44 am

        @ kalithea

        I disagree. Hophmi and company afford opportunity after opportunity to show folk how empty the wholly holey Hasbara crapolla is. They show quite clearly the type of deceitful scum attracted to and willing to support the ongoing illegal colonization of Palestine.

        That they’re willing to lie and falsely accuse, breaking the most basic tenets of Judaism on behalf of the Jewish State, is completely bizarre

      • Talkback on May 5, 2016, 5:50 am

        “… breaking the most basic tenets of Judaism …”

        What are you talking about? Clearly not Judaism’s basic tenet of monotheism or Rambam’s 13 tenets.

  3. Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 12:38 pm

    Here is Hillary in all her glory defending the occupier, and obviously having no honesty in condemning the illegal settlements when Jon Stewart brings it up, and trying desperately to blame the other side, while doing the dirty work for her donors. Again, it is a reminder to me why I find it hard to vote for her. Anyone noticed even an iota of sympathy for the Palestinian people who are being killed and having bombs sent into their homes?

    • Citizen on May 3, 2016, 12:52 pm

      Bernie was coxed into displaying an iota of sympathy for the Palestinian people.

      • gamal on May 3, 2016, 6:26 pm

        “Bernie was coxed into displaying an iota”

        imagine if he was coxless? as he is/was coxed he can really put his back in to the race, i never liked being coxless i felt so insecure, and my iota is between me and the rollock.

      • Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 10:00 pm

        I guess you mean “coaxed”. Whether it was coaxed or not, it took some guts to speak out that way (even neutral) in the zio state of America, where any criticism of Israel’s crimes, and showing any consideration for the suffering of the Palestinians, is immediately crushed by it’s agents here. Having politicians who kiss up to Israel is the norm here, and it is refreshing to hear a Jewish guy, running for President, show some compassion for the Palestinians.

      • Mooser on May 4, 2016, 1:54 pm

        “Bernie was coxed into displaying an iota of sympathy for the Palestinian people.”

        To celebrate, he should steal a policeman’s helmet.

  4. JWalters on May 3, 2016, 5:43 pm

    It’s not implausible that Obama had to replace Hillary with Kerry in order to get the Iran peace deal done.

    Hillary gets angry and indignant about the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, but evades a question about the 500 children massacred in Gaza by her BFF Netanyahu (along with 1000 parents massacred and 10,000 neighbors wounded).

    Hillary has also pledged that she will work to block Americans’ freedom of speech in the BDS campaign against Israel’s crimes.

    The only reason I can see for Hillary’s subservience to Israel’s crimes is the huge amounts of campaign money from wealthy “Israel right or wrong” donors like Haim Saban and Lloyd Blankfein.

    Her subservience to Israel’s money leads to the conclusion that Hillary would turn over America’s foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel, and that would mean getting involved in another war for Israel, probably against Iran.

    If America’s establishment media was not controlled by Israel, and simply told the truth about Hillary, Sanders would easily win 75% of the remaining pledged delegates and would have a majority of pledged delegates at the convention.

    And these factors don’t even include the vast number of voters disenfranchised in the New York primary, and the money laundering to finance her campaign.

  5. Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 7:22 pm

    “Hillary gets angry and indignant about the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, but evades a question about the 500 children massacred in Gaza by her BFF Netanyahu (along with 1000 parents massacred and 10,000 neighbors wounded).”

    She is a big hypocrite, just like many other politicians. They show outrage when it is to pander to her supporters and big donors, but those who do not matter, or are of no use to their grand plans to win elections, are ignored, or in the case of the Palestinians children, shown no compassion or outrage. Have we ever heard Hillary speak out against any of those kids who the IDF has killed, while playing soccer, or walking to school, or has she ever condemned her masters for kidnapping hundreds of little kids and throwing them in jail? She brags about her grandkids, but seems to not care for the grand kids of Palestinians.

  6. Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 10:23 pm

    Looks like the Lying Drumpf will be the GOP candidate for President, and it will now turn nasty.
    He will most probably pummel Hillary with everything he can, and everything he can lie about too, like he did to eliminate those GOP candidates running against him during the primaries.
    It is amazing that despite being a proven liar, this unqualified, crude man, who has encouraged the bigots in this country to show their hatred for others very openly, has the support of so many Americans. Whatever happened to standards and having a President that the nation can be proud of? If we thought G.W. Bush was bad, Drumpf will make him look the saner one.

    Hillary is going to get everything thrown at her by Drumpf, and we know she has enough baggage to give him enough to insult and lie about. This country is in for some rough times.
    him that ammunition.

  7. kalithea on May 3, 2016, 10:49 pm

    It’s so tragic and pathetic that the dumb American brain mass gets to decide between misery and progressive evolution for the rest of the planet. This truly is a karmic bad joke.

    To think that the two biggest egos on the planet are going to make us all gag for months on end only to end up with bad and worse interchangeable because I don’t know which is worse. Where’s Branson’s spaceship? – I’ll buy a one-way ticket or come back when the insanity is over and everyone has finally learned their karmic lesson.

    There’s only one reason I’ll tune in: when Trump wins; I’ll be front and center for his IMPEACHMENT; cause it’s in the cards, and what a beneficial outcome that will be! Trump and Hillary both manifest be careful what you wish for cause you’re going to get it to your detriment and that also goes for each of the two-party monopoly.

  8. Kathleen on May 4, 2016, 8:36 am

    Before, during and after the 2008 campaign Clinton often repeated the neocons unsubstantiated claims about Iran. She jumped on to support the Iran deal just weeks before it went through.

    Then during several of the debates she tried to lay claims to initiating the Iran deal. She really deserves her not to be trusted label. She is a proven deadly war hawk.

  9. MaxNarr on May 4, 2016, 10:56 am

    The Iran deal be damned! Woe to those who supported it!

    • Talkback on May 5, 2016, 5:16 am

      ROFL. As if any international deal or law has ever prevented the Jewish state from attacking other states or their nuclear facilities.

      (I call Israel a Jewish state, because I’m a self hater.)

  10. Keith on May 4, 2016, 5:12 pm

    On a related topic, below I provide a link to President Obama’s talk at the White House correspondents dinner. It is an amazing performance and indicates that Obama is an extremely talented and well qualified enemy of the 99%. I personally consider the Obama administration the absolute worst administration as far as the 99% are concerned, Bill Clinton was the second worst, George W. Bush the third worst. Not that George wouldn’t have loved to be the number one champion of the 1%, but he simply lacked the talent. Obama is impressive. The entire performance lasts just over 30 minutes, however, even just 5 minutes will demonstrate his extraordinary talent. Witty and lovable, the perfect front man to sell empire’s dirty business. Perhaps Bernie Sanders has a chance after all? Loathsome Hillary invites rebellion, but Bernie? What a perfect encore to hope and change! Who better to sell the imperial agenda? It could happen, it really could. First, check out the video.

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